The hot stove is supposed to warm your baseball heart at this time of year, and on the surface, any Mets’ interest in Andrew McCutchen certainly would qualify as my chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
When McCutchen’s name first surfaced as available earlier this month, he instantly seemed to be an ideal fit for the Mets’ needs — a righty-swinging centerfielder with All-Star credentials, even if he’s coming off a down year in Pittsburgh.
An ideal fit to the point that I wondered why the Mets weren’t immediately linked to McCutchen, even though their prime concentration for the offseason was rightly retaining slugger Yoenis Cespedes on what turned out to be a four-year, $110 million deal.
Now, there is word that GM Sandy Alderson indeed chatted with the Pirates about the 2013 NL MVP at the winter meetings, even if it was “very, very preliminary” and without much “traction,” as a source told News beat writer Kristie Ackert on Monday night.
Due diligence, checking all of the boxes, that sort of thing.
There also is the minor detail of several dominoes still needing to fall — you know, like trading both Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson for payroll purposes — and then coming up with an enticing enough package to send to the Bucs for McCutchen, who had finished in the top-5 in MVP voting four straight years before slipping to .256 with a career-worst .766 OPS (still with 24 homers and 79 RBI) last season.
Perhaps the proverbial change of scenery would rejuvenate the five-time All-Star, who is signed reasonably at $14 million for next season with a $14.5 million option ($1 million buyout) for 2018.
I know, this is the Mets, so it still doesn’t seem entirely believable that they would go all-out for another big-ticket move of this nature.
It bears repeating as often as possible, however, that the window before these talented young pitchers all will have to be paid or depart is closing sooner than you think.
So what would you reasonably trade for that sort of lineup boost, that sort of splashy push to get back to the World Series and win it all this time for the first time since ’86?
Please, don’t channel your inner sports-radio caller here and suggest a package of Kevin Plawecki and Sean Gilmartin.
Be honest with yourself, Mets fan: Would you give up Steven Matz for Andrew McCutchen? How about Michael Conforto? Think about it, because a package built around Kevin Plawecki isn’t going to cut it.
Assuming stud shortstop prospect Amed Rosario is off-limits in just about any deal, though, would you trade, say, Michael Conforto for McCutchen?
Local kid Steven Matz, maybe?
Did Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo raise their values enough in late-season fill-in duty to be included or to be considered fallback insurance for dealing from the organization’s strength?
True, it still doesn’t sound likely to happen, but ’tis the season of sugar-plum visions and all of that cornball jazz.
A little hot stove dreaming never hurt anybody. Or any Botte.
OUTTA BOTTE EXPERIENCE
“For us, home is wherever we’re together. And I look forward to being home with you soon. Really, really soon.”
These get me every dang time, but if you get the chance, check out the video of Notre Dame point guard Matt Farrell (out of Bridgewater, NJ) being surprised by his older brother Bo’s early return from Army deployment in Afghanistan after the Irish’s win Monday over Colgate in South Bend.
Notre Dame’s Matt Farrell, left, is surprised by his brother Bo Farrell on the court following Notre Dame’s 77-62 victory over Colgate Monday night.
Matt Farrell’s parents also were at the game and unaware of the surprise reunion, which supposedly was arranged by the boys’ grandmother with an assist to the Notre Dame staff.
— The repeated hits to Cam Newton’s head are completely out of hand now, to the point where you expect him to be called for illegal contact to an opponent’s shoulder, arm or hand every time he gets walloped.
Newton gave himself up with a slide on Monday night, got popped in the helmet by unpenalized Washington linebacker Trent Murphy and then the reigning NFL MVP was assessed a personal foul for taunting for flipping the ball at Murphy?
— I praised the NFL for not fining Ezekiel Elliott for that Salvation Army kettle jump, but point well-taken by Odell Beckham Jr., who has been docked over $100k already this year by the league.
“That’s funny there’s no fine for that. I could only imagine if I was the one to do it. Just bein honest.”
— Jerry Jones said in a radio interview that he’s a Star Wars fan: “I have the whole trilogy … I have it right behind The Godfather trilogy.”
Well, he has always been the rogue one.
— Your 2017 Rock & Roll HOF inductees are Pearl Jam, Journey, Tupac, Yes, ELO and Joan Baez.
No Tim Raines and no PED users again this year, depending of course on what you consider performance-enhancing in music circles.
— If some of those selections aren’t making you feel old, rehabbing Mets captain David Wright turned 34 on Tuesday.
In honor of the Rock Hall selections, here are my Top-5 sports moments by this year’s inductees:
5. Pearl Jam was still known as “Mookie Blaylock” when they recorded their first hit single, “Alive.”
4. Steve Perry (Journey) sings “Don’t Stop Believin’ at a San Francisco Giants game.
3. Steve Howe (Yes) records the final out of 1981 World Series.
(I know, not that Steve Howe).
2. Tupac’s hoops movie, “Above the Rim.”
1.Eddie Vedder’s (Pearl Jam) Cubs diddy “All the Way.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News